June 13, 2000
Rhododendron Royal Brigade of Guards
PO Box 15041
Asheville, NC 28813
Dear RRBG President:
Back in 1991-93, our organization worked with your previous officers to bring about change in the RRBG's discriminatory practices At that time, the RRBG Board voted to adopt a written non-discrimination policy and committed to us that there would be no future newspaper coverage of the debutante activities until there was actual change in the makeup of the Board and the debutantes. We agreed to stop making it a public issue during the interim. That agreement has been adhered to by both of us for the past six years.
Thus, it was with surprise that I read in the Sunday June 11, 2000 edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times a front page Living Section article about the presentation ball with its accompanying individual photographs of the 28 debutantes on an inside page. At first glance, there appears to be no change in the make up of the Brigade or its debutantes. Moreover, nowhere in the article is there a way to contact the Brigade or learn how to apply to be a debutante.
I am writing to request an update on the RRBG in relation to the commitments the RRBG made in 1993. Perhaps, you have had staff and Board turnover resulting in a lack of historical awareness of the past public controversy centered around the RRBG and of its previous agreement which quieted the controversy.
If that is the case, I hope you will review the enclosed background materials which clarify the controversy and the commitments made by the RRBG. These materials include a November 7, 1991 letter from then-President George Saenger indicating the Board's adoption of a non-discrimination policy. They also include a June 9, 1993 letter from the next President, Dr. Cecil Durham, indicating that the decision had been made "to stop all newspaper coverage in the future." We have a thick file with additional background information and correspondence much of which you may have in your own records. Please let me know what the current situation is and what the RRBG's intentions are for the future.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.